The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will make a commitment to reduce carbon emissions at the agency’s three airports and its seaports, said Anthony R. Coscia, chair of the board of commissioners, yesterday during the 2007 commencement of New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). NJIT awarded Coscia an honorary doctorate of humane letters at the ceremony held in East Rutherford at Continental Airlines Arena.
The agency will produce a plan during the next two years on how to cut its global warming impact by 80 percent in the long term, said Coscia. Drawing on the lessons of the Port Authority and his leadership of the agency since 2003, the North Caldwell resident also addressed how many of today's most important policy questions can benefit from the leadership and insights of those trained in the fields of science and technology.
During the ceremony, NJIT, New Jersey’s science and technology university, awarded 2099 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in engineering, computer science, management, architecture, science and the liberal arts. This brings the total number of degrees awarded by the university to more than 63,400.
“As graduates of NJIT, you have been well-prepared with knowledge that can improve life for the people of every country,” said Robert A. Altenkirch, PhD, NJIT President. “It is equally significant that you have acquired this knowledge in an academic setting that brings together women and men of all races and diverse cultural backgrounds. As professionals in the global economy, your scientific and technological expertise will be valued throughout the world.”
Coscia said that it was a rare treat to have almost 2000 graduates who not only understand what infrastructure was, but that a good number of them were expecting to earn a living from it for the rest of their lives. He challenged graduates to push the envelope of greatness, because their ideas, commitment to success and ambition will be integral to ensuring the country’s competitiveness in the 21st century.
“The Port Authority will develop a comprehensive strategy over the next two years," he said, "for implementing alternative energy solutions at our airports and ports—a combination of efficiency, renewable energy and renewable energy credits—with the ultimate goal of reducing carbon emissions, our so-called carbon footprint,” Coscia said.
Additionally, he stated the agency must think of its environmental impact in terms of the signs outside of parks telling you to take out what you bring in.
The environmental initiative puts the agency at the forefront of meeting Governor Corzine’s statewide greenhouse gas reduction target set in a February 2007 Executive Order, and stems from the Governor’s speech at NJIT last year in which he called for environmentally sustainable practices at ports and airports in his economic development plan. Coscia noted that it would be impossible to bring critical facilities like the airports and ports to zero carbon emissions, but a greatly reduced net impact could be achieved though a number of measures including:
• geothermal heating and cooling of buildings;
• on-site power generation through the use of fuel cells;
• use of renewable energy from wind and solar projects;
• having planes use docking stations to power up at airports rather than idling their engines;
• using electrified tugs and other alternative fuel ramp side equipment;
• using planes like the A380 to carry more passengers on flights that also are more environmentally efficient, and;
• offsetting greenhouse gas emissions by purchasing renewable energy credits.
Four other notable individuals received honorary degrees. NJIT alumnus William S. Guttenberg (class of 1944), of Tenafly, founder and retired president of Wilco Electric, was honored for his professional achievements and dedication helping physically challenged young people and for his generosity to NJIT. Peter Lax, PhD, professor emeritus of mathematics, New York University, was applauded for his substantial and notable research contributions in the mathematical sciences.
Another NJIT alumnus, John J. Mooney (class of 1960), of Glen Rock, co-inventor of the catalytic converter, was honored for his outstanding achievements in the field of automotive technology and helping the environment.
Randal D. Pinkett, PhD, MBA, co-founder, president and CEO of BCT Partners, Newark, was honored for his academic and professional achievements and service to the community.